Homeless advice

Rough sleeping

How to help rough sleepers

There are several ways to report a rough sleeper depending on when you are reporting it.

At night (5pm to 9am), weekends and bank holidays

During office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

You could also advise the person to contact Harrow Council’s Housing Advice Team. Their contact details are at the end of this page.

In an emergency dial 999, if the person is in immediate danger or needs urgent care.

Please give as much information as you can about the location of the person, their description, and what time you saw them. 

Freezing weather conditions

If the temperature falls below freezing the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is activated so that no one is left on the streets irrespective of their immigration status.

Working in partnership

Harrow Council provides rough sleepers in Harrow with appropriate support and advice on housing options. We carry out this work with partners including: 

  • homelessness charities
  • specialist substance misuse
  • mental health organisations
  • voluntary and community groups

Regular checks are carried out to identify and help people sleeping on the streets.

Frequently asked questions

What is rough sleeping?

Rough sleeping means sleeping:

  • on the streets
  • in tents
  • doorways
  • parks
  • bus shelters
  • encampments
  • buildings
  • or other places not designed for habitation (e.g. stairwells, sheds, car parks, cars, or train and bus stations)

Rough sleeping doesn’t usually mean people living in hostels or shelters, sofa surfers, people in campsites, squats or travellers sites.

While the number of rough sleepers in Harrow is comparatively lower than some areas, we have developed services to assist them. Some people who are sleeping rough do not feel able to accept the accommodation that they are offered and remain street homeless. Outreach work is carried out by Harrow Council and partners, to build a relationship to understand their individual circumstances and find a way to help them.

What help is available if you are at risk of becoming a rough sleeper?

If you are at risk of becoming a rough sleeper please contact the Housing Advice Team via the details at the bottom of this page. They will advise you about your situation. The team works with other local services and charities that provide street outreach, short and long term accommodation solutions, and support services.

What is the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)?

SWEP is short-term, temporary service for anyone sleeping rough, regardless of their local connections or recourse to public funds. It is activated any time that the temperature is forecast to reach 0 °C or below. The SWEP activation is coordinated by the Mayor of London for the whole of London.

Who else supports rough sleepers in Harrow?

The following charities and organisations support rough sleepers.


FirmFoundation is a local charity based in Harrow working with homeless people. The services provided include drop-in sessions, the Winter Night Shelter, outreach and floating support and Hope Place supported housing. They usually run weekly ‘food and shower’ drop-in sessions, on Monday 2-4pm and Friday 2-4pm at Harrow Baptist Church (entrance in William Carey Way to the left of the main gates). See their contact details at the bottom of this page.

Harrow street pastors

Harrow street pastors are part of a national team of trained volunteers from local churches who care about the community and who are there to care, listen and help people who are out on the streets. They are usually on patrol from 10pm to 4am on a Friday or Saturday. See their contact details at the bottom of this page.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a worldwide christian church and registered charity, which fights against social inequality and transforms lives. See their contact details at the bottom of this page.

Giving money to rough sleepers or charities

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether someone is a rough sleeper or a street beggar who is not homeless. We would encourage you to donate to the organisations who support rough sleepers locally instead.

Rough Sleepers Outreach Team

If you have details of an individual currently sleeping rough in Harrow. Use the link below to access a referral form providing details of individuals appearance, location and contact. The form will be sent to our outreach team who will intend to make contact with the individual within 24 hours. A person who is sofa surfing or temporarily staying with friends or family is not a rough sleeper and if threatened with homelessness should contact the Housing Advice Team.


Telephone: 0300 500 0914

Housing Advice Team

For emergencies outside of office hours, including weekends, calls to this number will be diverted to the Emergency Social Services duty officer who will be able to assist them with their housing situation.

Telephone: 020 8424 1093